Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Links: Double Plays, Returning Relievers, Maxwell, & More

After rolling off five straight victories, the Royals have lost two consecutive games, which of course means they are doomed once again. In reality, it is troubling to see the offense performing this way, particularly with their plate discipline. Guys like Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer are swinging at too many pitches out of the zone, which has resulted in a lot of weak contact. The team simply must be more selective if they want to improve their production at the plate. Let’s take a look at some other stories from the last few days.

FOX Sports Kansas City’s Jeffrey Flanagan says the Royals are grounding into too many double plays. We all know that, obviously, but Flanagan also points out that the Royals have been caught stealing far too often. Giving away outs is never a good thing, and it’s even worse for a team that has to scratch several hits together to get runs across.

Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star had a few notes from Monday, mostly surrounding the potential return of Tim Collins and Francisley Bueno. Ned Yost says Danny Duffy‘s spot on the roster is safe with the way he’s been pitching, so the players who will be replaced will have to come from elsewhere. If Bruce Chen is fully healthy, I would guess Michael Mariot and Louis Coleman would be the guys to be sent down, although that’s just my own guess at this point.

McCullough also notes that Rusty Kuntz was hit in the arm by a line drive from Salvador Perez during batting practice. He later tweeted that Kuntz had a broken arm and would need surgery. I’m not a doctor, but I think getting hit by a line drive from Perez seems kind of dangerous.

– Our old friend Michael Engel has a post at Pine Tar Press that focuses on the blind spots we can develop with certain players. Engel uses Justin Maxwell as an example, since he brought fans one of the most incredible moments in recent Royals history last year with his walkoff grand slam in the home finale, and that has led some to overlook his less-than-stellar career.

– On the Royals’ team site, Dick Kaegel has an article with some quotes from Billy Butler following a bit of success while hitting lower in the order. Despite going hitless in his return to the cleanup spot last night, it does seem like he’s starting to hit the ball with more authority. Butler says he’s getting more confidence back, which certainly shouldn’t hurt. It still looks like his timing isn’t quite right, but as I’ve said before, I think he’ll turn it around.

– At The Hardball Times, Dan Farnsworth wrote a fascinating piece on strikeouts and their impact on a team’s offense. Strikeout rates are as high as they’ve ever been, so he performed some analysis to determine if they have played a part in the current run-scoring environment. He also looks at swing rates and contact rates to find any correlation. It’s a very interesting article.

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